Illinois Cannabis Lounges Enjoy Early Success

Cannabis lounges in parts of Illinois are providing legal public spaces for social cannabis use.

Full story after the jump.

Bring-your-own cannabis smoking lounges in Illinois are off to a slow but successful start, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Illinois state law prohibits the public use of cannabis so the licensed consumption sites are a welcome addition for tourists—but before a new lounge can open, local regulators must first approve the business model. Lounges are currently open in DeKalb and downstate Sesser, according to the report, with plans for additional businesses in West Peoria and Carbondale.

For now, the lounges are not allowed to dispense their own cannabis products so consumers have to bring their own. One Carbondale dispensary called Consume Cannabis, however, is seeking to become the state’s first retailer with an attached consumption site after local regulators approved the business model.

“The City Council is in full support of cannabis business,” said Carbondale’s Economic Development Director Steven Mitchell.

“Cannabis has been here since cannabis has been around. Southern Illinois University got a reputation in the 1960s and ‘70s as sort of a hippie town. Lots of folks came from the Chicago area and introduced a new culture to the region, and it has remained.” — Mitchell, via the Tribune

Cannabis lounges remain off-limits in Chicago after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposal stalled in the City Council. Additionally, statewide expansions to cannabis consumption lounges and business tours failed to pass the legislature this year but will likely be reconsidered next year.

Alaska was the first state to approve cannabis social use sites statewide although cannabis cafes/consumption lounges have also been operating in parts of California, Nevada, and Colorado.

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